Krishna Janmashtami 2023 will be celebrated on two consecutive days, Wednesday, September 6 and Thursday, September 7. The day of Lord Krishna’s birth is celebrated as a major festival in Hinduism. Krishna is the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, the Supreme God in Hinduism. He is considered to be the protector of dharma, or righteousness, and is often depicted as a mischievous child who is also a wise and compassionate leader.
Krishna Janmashtami, also known simply as Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, is a Hindu festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion to commemorate the birth of Lord Krishna, who is considered the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. This festival usually falls on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in the month of Bhadrapada in the Hindu calendar, which typically falls in August or September of the Gregorian calendar. The exact date may vary from year to year.
Here are some key details and customs associated with Krishna Janmashtami:
The date of Krishna Janmashtami varies each year based on the Hindu lunar calendar. It usually falls in the months of August or September.
Devotees often observe fasting on this day, which can vary from a complete fast to consuming only fruits and milk.
Lord Krishna is believed to have been born at midnight. Therefore, the main celebration takes place at midnight with the recitation of prayers, singing of devotional songs, and reading of scriptures like the Bhagavad Gita. This moment is known as “Nanda Utsav” or “Nandaotsav,” and it symbolizes the divine birth of Lord Krishna.
Devotees visit Krishna temples and offer prayers, flowers, and special offerings to Lord Krishna’s idol or image. In Mathura, the city of Krishna’s birth, and Vrindavan, where he spent his early years, the celebrations are especially grand.
In Maharashtra and some other regions, a popular tradition called “Dahi Handi” is observed. A clay pot filled with buttermilk or yogurt is suspended at a height, and young men form human pyramids to break it. This reenacts Krishna’s childhood pastime of stealing butter and curd.
Krishna’s Childhood Stories:
Devotees often engage in reenactments and dramas depicting the various stories and episodes from Lord Krishna’s childhood, especially his mischievous adventures.
Swinging of Cradles:
Cradles adorned with flowers and decorations are used to swing the idol of baby Krishna. Devotees take turns swinging the cradle while singing devotional songs.
Special dishes, sweets, and delicacies are prepared as offerings to Lord Krishna, including dishes made with milk and milk products, as Krishna was fond of dairy products. Popular items include butter, curd, and sweets like laddoos and kheer.
In some regions, a swing (jhula) is beautifully decorated, and the idol of Lord Krishna is placed on it. Devotees take turns swinging the deity while singing devotional songs.
The fast observed during Janmashtami is typically broken at a specific auspicious time after midnight when Lord Krishna is believed to have been born.
In North India, especially in the region of Braj, competitions are held where young men try to break a pot (matki) filled with butter or curd, similar to the Dahi Handi tradition.
Krishna Janmashtami is a joyous occasion celebrated with devotion, music, dance, and elaborate decorations in temples and homes. It is an opportunity for devotees to remember and seek blessings from Lord Krishna, who is revered for his wisdom, teachings, and divine love. The specific customs and traditions may vary across different regions of India, but the essence of the festival remains the same – the birth of Lord Krishna, the embodiment of love and divine playfulness.